Beware Girls on Cream Horses

Ever since I wrote about the “Ice Princess” found on the Ukok plateau in Siberia in If Wishes Were Horses I’ve been fascinated by the early cultures of the Eurasian Steppes. Aside from their deep horsiness, they also seem to have had a very egalitarian society, and their womenfolk fought alongside the men. I’m currently partway through Adrienne Mayor’s exhaustive account of the physical, textual and artistic evidence for the existence of these bow-wielding riders, The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World, and was delighted to read about two depictions of Amazons with cremellos. Since I got back from Versailles I’ve been seeing cream. So here they are: one Etruscan sarcophagus (the other side shows the creams drawing Amazon chariots) and one goblet found in Sudan.

Published by Susanna Forrest

Writer Amazons of Paris, The Age of the Horse and If Wishes Were Horses.

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  1. Cremellos haven’t been on my “horse radar” so I know nothing about their history other than what you have posted in your blog. From your historical tracings, do you think there is a basic body type associated with the cremello, such as those of the Mongolian horses, or the early stocky and short backed horses that show up in ancient art?

    1. Not really sure. There have been (and are) lots of attempts to map out “types” of ancient horse that were ancestors of this or that breed, but not much is known about what the different clusters of domesticated horses looked like. *Possibly* the creams are somehow realted to the Turkic or Ferghana ancestors of the Akhal Teke? The Hanoverian creams had Persian ancestry according to one source, but Spanish according to another. The main theory is that all domestic horses are descended from those of the Eurasian steppes, one way or another. People definitely started deliberately breeding for white/grey horses at some point, and white/grey horses come up in many religious cultures, but creams? Not so sure. Unless they counted as white. I think it’s a book in itself!

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